As you’ve probably figured out, I feel that parenting a two-year old is an all-encompassing, all-consuming endeavor. Those of you who are currently checked into the game, or have raised one and lived to share the tales, would probably agree. I find that a solid 95% of my day’s thought goes into something Madden related. My wife (feeling such sorrow for our newborn) has playfully made digs following the reading of each of my posts. They usually sound a little something like this: “Poor Quinn.”, “You know you do have another son!”, “Are you ever going to write a post about Quinn?” And after reviewing my recent posts, I concur. He almost sounds like the forgotten son. But I promise that my newborn is not growing up in a single-parent home. And this dad definitely doesn’t neglect the newest addition. It’s just Madden is a steady flow of ammunition. Every move he makes and every line he shouts feels like it is hand-crafted to be the framework for my next post. But I feel like I do owe Quinn an homage.
Maybe it’s because the first five weeks spent with Quinn have been such a smooth transition, that it feels as though I never really had only one son. He came into the house and immediately he had a niche. Instantaneously we all were bonded. Madden sang to him the most odd medley of mixed up verses from nursery rhymes and songs that you’ve ever heard. Norman used him as the next subject of his everlasting attempt to reach a human-being’s brain through it’s nostrils with his tongue. Gertrude danced around the couch with a fear in her eyes that would make you think an unidentified flying object had just landed in our living room. And Marti reinserted herself into the role of the best mom-to-a-newborn this side of the Mississippi (she is unbelievably skilled at caring for and loving her baby boys).
Maybe it is that this is my second time, or maybe I just didn’t have time to dwell on it like I did the first; but just as Quinn was reminding me of how inadequate trying to care for a newborn made me feel, I was blessed to have the fatherly moment where it clicked. I felt the bond that I knew would eventually come, but had seemed to be difficult to attain when I experienced the life-altering first few months of raising Madden.
Although it has only been just over a month, life without Quinn seems to be hard to recollect. But at the same time it has brought back some vivid memories of going through the same experiences with Madden. This go at it has actually been a stark contrast to how that month went the first time. Mom and dad haven’t been so cuckoo, and Quinn should be thankful for that.
I’m fairly certain that Marti and I owned a book titled something like, “How to Keep your Baby Alive”, and referenced it hourly the first time around. It should have been titled “How to Make Parents Feel Extra-Stressed and Inferior”. I had created a spreadsheet to document every poop, every pee, every breastfeeding, every bottle-feeding, every sneeze, every detail of every eye-gunk that formed and every eerily inconsistent breathing pattern that expelled from his body. I’d spend many a sleepless night with my hand on Madden’s chest, to be sure that he was still breathing. It was nightmarish. It made parenting my newborn a chore (more than it already sometimes can feel like) and as hard as we were trying I was certain something would go wrong and we’d fail.
This time around, it feels natural and right. When Quinn had goop in his eye, we wiped it out with a warm washcloth (genius!). Last time we had ourselves convinced Madden would end up blind. When Quinn’s appendages were a purple hue in the days after coming home from the hospital, we knew it was perfectly normal and didn’t require a call to the doc. But the same thing happened two years ago and we were certain that Madden was going to go through life a paraplegic. We were constantly afraid that if we weren’t right at Madden’s side on the changing station he’d end up cliff-diving off a three-foot tall bureau. Number two gets to leisurely lay in the boppy on the couch, while mom and dad try to get done one more thing on the laundry list of tasks we have to do. And I know solid food hasn’t been introduced yet, but I’m sure when it does we will not be checking Quinn’s airway after he eats each blueberry.
There is no denying that raising a child is absolutely a different experience the second go around. We’re both more relaxed, the whole family is already in a groove and our boys seem happily content and satisfied. Quinn has had the best start that any baby could ask for; and we all are in for experiences that none of us will ever forget. Here’s to Quinn!